"Then why"—the other's smile was whimsical—"then why not both of my notes?"
"Do you mean it?" Sherman asked breathlessly.
By way of answer Hammond drew a book of printed forms toward him. Calmly, leisurely, he wrote several lines; tore a long, narrow strip from the book and handed it to Sherman.
"Here's my check for $40,000 on the United States Treasurer. He will cash it in gold. Never mind, don't thank me, this is purely business. I know what's up, young man. I can't see your people go under. Good day!"
* * * * *
Ten o'clock on the following morning. Hundreds of people lined up before the doors of San Francisco banks. Men of all classes; top-hatted merchants rubbed elbows with red-shirted miners, Irish laborers smoking clay pipes, Mexican vaqueros, roustabouts from the docks, gamblers, bartenders, lawyers, doctors, politicians. Here and there one saw women with children in their arms or holding them by the hand. They pressed shoulder to shoulder. Those at the head had their noses almost against the glass. Inside of the counting houses men with pale, harried faces stood behind their grilled iron wickets, wondering how long the pile of silver and gold within their reach would stay that clamorous human tide. Doors swung back and it swept in, a great wave, almost overturning the janitors.
The cashier and assistant manager of Lucas & Co. watched nervously, the former now and then running his fingers through his sparse hair; the assistant manager at intervals retired to a back room where he consulted a decanter and a tall glass. Frequently he summoned the bookkeeper. "How's the money lasting?" he would inquire almost in a whisper, and the other answered, "Still holding out."
But now the assistant manager saw that the cash on hand was almost exhausted. He was afraid to ask the bookkeeper any more questions.
"Where the devil's Sherman?" he snapped at the cashier. That official started. "Why—er—how should I know?... He was hunting Major Snyder this morning. He had a check from Hammond, the collector of the port."
"Damnation!" cried the assistant manager. "Sherman ought to be here. He ought to talk to these people. They think he's skipped."
He broke off hurriedly as the assistant teller came up trembling. "We'll have to close in ten minutes," he said. "There's less than $500 left." His mouth twitched. "I don't know what we'll do, sir, when the time comes ... and God only knows what they'll do."
"Good God! what's that?"
Some new commotion was apparent at the entrance of the bank. The assistant teller grasped his pistol. The line of waiting men and women turned, for the moment forgetting their quest. William Sherman, attended by two armed constables, entered the door. Between them the trio carried two large canvas bags, each bearing the imprint of the United States Treasury.
Sherman halted just inside the door.
"Forty thousand in gold, boys," he cried, "and plenty more where it came from. Turner, Lucas & Co. honors every draft."
His face pressed eagerly against the lattice of the paying teller's cage stood a little Frenchman. His hat had fallen from his pomaded hair; his waxed moustache bristled.
"Do you mean you have ze monnaie? All ze monnaie zat we wish?" he asked gesticulating excitedly with his hands.
"Sure," returned the teller. Sherman and his aids were carrying the two sacks into the back of the cage, depositing them on a marble shelf. "See!" The teller turned one over and a tinkling flood of shining golden disks poured forth.
"Ah, bon! bon!" shrieked the little Frenchman, dancing up and down upon his high-heeled boots. "If you have ze monnaie, zen I do not want heem." He broke out of the line, happily humming a chanson. Half a dozen people laughed.
"That's what I say," shouted other voices. "We don't want our money if it's safe."
KING STARTS THE BULLETIN
After several months of business convalescence, San Francisco found itself recovered from the financial chaos of February. Many well-known men and institutions had not stood the ordeal; some went down the pathway of dishonor to an irretrievable inconsequence and destitution; others profited by their misfortunes and still others, with the dauntless spirit of the time, turned halted energies or aspirations to fresh account. Among them was James King of William.
The name of his father, William King, was, by an odd necessity, perpetuated with his own. There were many James Kings and to avert confusion of identities the paternal cognomen was added.
In the Bank Exchange saloon, where the city's powers in commerce, journalism and finance were wont to congregate, King met, on a rainy autumn afternoon, R.D. Sinton and Jim Nesbitt. They hailed him jovially. Seated in the corner of an anteroom they drank to one another's health and listened to the raindrops pattering against a window.
"Well, how is the auction business, Bob?" asked King.
"Not so bad," the junior partner of Selover and Sinton answered. "Better probably than the newspaper or banking line.... Here's poor Jim, the keenest paragrapher in San Francisco, out of work since the Chronicle's gone to the wall. And here you are, cleaned out by Adams & Company's careless or dishonest work—I don't know which."
"Let's not discuss it," King said broodingly. "You know they wouldn't let me supervise the distribution of the money. And you know what my demand for an accounting brought ..."
"Abuse and slander from that boughten sheet, the Alta—yes," retorted Sinton. "Well, you have the consolation of knowing that no honest man believes it."
King was silent for a moment. Then his clenched hand fell upon the table. "By the Eternal!" he exclaimed, with a sudden upthrust of the chin. "This town must have a decent paper. Do you know that there are seven murderers in our jail? No one will convict them and no editor has the courage to expose our rotten politics." He glanced quickly from one to the other. "Are you with me, boys? Will you help me to start a journal that will run our crooked officials and their hired plug-uglies out of town?... Sinton, last week you asked my advice about a good investment ... Nesbitt, you're looking for a berth. Well, here's an answer to you both. Let's start a paper—call it, say, the Evening Bulletin."
Nesbitt's eyes glowed. "By the Lord Harry! it's an inspiration, King," he said and beckoned to a waiter to refill their glasses. "I know enough about our State and city politics to make a lot of well-known citizens hunt cover—"
Sinton smiled at the journalist's ardor. "D'ye mean it, James?" he asked. "Every word," replied the banker. "But I can't help much financially," he added. "My creditors got everything."
"You mean the King's treasury is empty," said Sinton, laughing at his pun. "Well, well, we might make it go, boys. I'm not a millionaire, but never mind. How much would it take?"
Nesbitt answered with swift eagerness. "I know a print shop we can buy for a song; it's on Merchant street near Montgomery. Small but comfortable, and just the thing. $500 down would start us."
Sinton pulled at his chin a moment. "Go ahead then," he urged. "I'll loan you the money."
King's hand shot out to grasp the auctioneer's. "There ought to be 10,000 decent citizens in San Francisco who'll give us their support. Let's go and see the owner of that print-shop now."
* * * * *
On the afternoon of October 5th, 1885, a tiny four-page paper made its first appearance on the streets of San Francisco.
The first page, with its queer jumble of news and advertisements, had a novel and attractive appearance quite apart from the usual standards of typographical make-up. People laughed at King's naive editorial apology for entering an overcrowded and none-too-prosperous field; they nodded approvingly over his promise to tell the truth with fearless impartiality.
William Coleman was among the first day's visitors.
"Good luck to you, James King of William," he held forth a friendly hand. The editor, turning, rose and grasped it with sincere cordiality. They stood regarding each other silently. It seemed almost as though a prescience of what was to come lay in that curious communion of heart and mind.
"Going after the crooks, I understand," said Coleman finally.
"Big and little," King retorted. "That's all the paper's for. I don't expect to make money."
"How about the Southerners, the Chivalry party? They'll challenge you to duels daily."
"Damn the 'Chivs'." King answered. "I shall ignore their challenges. This duelling habit is absurd. It's grandstand politics; opera bouffe. They even advertise their meetings and the boatmen run excursions to some point where two idiots shoot wildly at each other for some fancied slight. No, Coleman, I'm not that particular kind of a fool."
"Well, you'd better carry a derringer," the other warned. "There are Broderick's plug-uglies. They won't wait to send a challenge."
King gave him an odd look. "I have feeling that one cannot change his destiny," he said. "If I am to be killed—then so be it ... Kismet, as the Orientals say. But meanwhile I'll fight corruption. I'll call men by name and shout their sins from the housetops. We'll wake up the town, or my name isn't James King of William.... Won't we, James?" He clapped a hand on Nesbitt's shoulder. The other turned half irritably. "What? Oh, yes. To be sure," he answered and resumed his writing. Charles Gerberding, who held the title of publisher in the new enterprise, looked up from his ledger. "If this keeps up," he said, smiling and rubbing his hands, "we can enlarge the paper in a month or so." He shut the volume with a slam and lighted a cigar.
"Hello, Coleman, how are the Vigilants? I'm told you still preserve a tacit organization."
"More of the spirit than substance," said Coleman smiling. "I hope we'll not need to revive it."
"Not so sure," responded Gerberding. "This man here," the cigar was waved in King's direction, "this editor of ours is going to set the town afire."
Coleman did not answer. He went out ... wondering whether Isaac Bluxome was in town. Bluxome had served as secretary for the Vigilance Committee of '51.
RICHARDSON AND CORA
Business went on with at least a surface calm of new stability. Politics brought forth occasional eruptions, mostly twixt the Abolitionists and Slavery parties. Each claimed California. Broderick more than ever held the reins of state and city government. But the latter proved a fractious steed. For all his dauntless vigor and political astuteness, Destiny as yet withheld from Broderick the coveted United States senatorship. At best he had achieved an impasse, a dog-in-the-manger victory. By preventing the election of a rival he had gained little and incurred much censure for depriving the State of national representation. Benito and Alice tried to rouse him from a fit of moodiness as he dined with them one evening in November. Lately he had made a frequent, always-welcome third at their evening meal.
"Cheer up, Dave," Benito rallied, as he raised a glass of wine. "We'll be reading your speeches in the Washington reports before many years have gone by. Come," he said to his wife, "let's drink to the future of 'The Gentleman from California.'"
Broderick smiled; his glass clinked against those of his two companions. He gazed a moment musingly at both; then quaffed his liquor with a touch of haste.
Alice Windham's eyes were troubled. "David," she was hesitant, yet earnest. "It is really necessary to associate with people such as—well, you know ... James Casey, Billy Mulligan, McGowan?"
He answered her with a vehemence close to anger. "Politicians cannot choose their weapons. They must fight fire with fire ... or lose." For a moment the talk lagged. Then Benito, with his sprightly gossip, sent it rolling on. "Sherman has turned Jim Casey and his Sunday Times out of the Turner-Lucas building ... for attacking the banks."
"He threatened to, some time ago," said Broderick.... "How goes it with your law, Benito?"
"Well enough," said Windham, as his wife rose. She left them to attend the child, which had awakened. Broderick stared after her, a brooding hunger in his eyes. Presently, he, too, arose, and despite Benito's urging, departed.
It was dusk when he reached the Blue Wing saloon, where "Judge" McGowan awaited him. A burly, forceful man, with bushy eyebrows, a walrus moustache perpetually tobacco-stained, and an air of ruthless command. "Where've you been?" he asked, impatiently, but did not wait for an answer. "Casey's in trouble again."
"What's the matter now?" asked Broderick with a swift, half anxious uplift of the chin.
"Oh, not his fault exactly," said the other. "Five of Gwin's men attacked him. Tried to kill him probably. But Jim's a tough lad. He laid one out, took his pistol and shot another. The rest vamoosed. Jim's in jail ... for disturbing the peace," he added, chuckling grimly.
"Well, Billy Mulligan will let him out," responded Broderick. "If not, see Scannell. Do you need bail?" He reached into his pocket and took out a roll of banknotes. "You'll attend to it, Ned?" he asked hurriedly.
"Yes, yes," returned the tall man. "That's all right.... I wish it hadn't happened, though. We're none too strong ... with seven murderers in the jail.... They'll bring up Casey's prison record at the examination. See if they don't."
Broderick turned away.
At the bar he greeted "General" Billy Richardson, deputy United States Marshal. They had a drink together.
"James King of William's crusading with The Bulletin," said Richardson, "he threatens to run all the crooks out of town. It's making a good deal of talk."
"But King's not a newspaper man," retorted Broderick, puzzled. "He's a banker. How's he going to run a journal? That takes money—experience."
"Quien sabe?" Richardson vouchsafed. "Sinton of Selover and Sinton's his financial backer. Jim Nesbitt helps with the writing. You know Nesbitt, don't you? Slings a wicked pen. But King writes his own editorials I'm told. He's got a big job on his hands—cleaning up San Francisco.... You ought to know, Dave Broderick," he laughed meaningly. "Here's to him, anyhow."
"Don't know if I should drink to that or not," Broderick ruminated, smiling. "May get after me. I'll take a chance, though. King's straight. I can always get on with a straight man." He raised his glass.
A friend of Richardson's came up. Broderick did not know him, but he recognized at his side the well-groomed figure of Charles Cora, gambler and dandy. "Wancha t'meet Charley," said the introducer, unsteadily, to Richardson. "Bes' li'l man ever lived." Richardson held out his hand a bit reluctantly. Cora's sort were somewhat declasse. "Have a drink?" he invited.
Broderick left them together. Later he saw Richardson quit the gambler's presence abruptly. The other took a few steps after him, then fell back with a shrug. Broderick heard the deputy-marshal mutter: "Too damned fresh; positively insulting," but he thought little of it. Richardson was apt to grow choleric while drinking. He often fancied himself insulted, but usually forgot it quickly. So Broderick merely smiled.
On the following day he chanced again upon Richardson, who, to Broderick's astonishment, still brooded over Cora's "impudent remark." He did not seem to know just what it was, but the offensive flavor of it lingered.
"Wonder where he is?" he kept repeating. "Deserves to be thrashed. Confound his impertinence. May do it yet."
He was drinking. Broderick glanced apprehensively about. The gambler's sleek form was not in evidence. McGowan came in with Casey and Mulligan. Casey, too, had been drinking. He was in an evil humor, his usually jovial face sullen and vengeful.
"Damn the newspapers," he exploded. "They've printed the Sing Sing yarn on me again. It was brought out at the arraignment."
"Confound it, Broderick, haven't you any influence at all? Can't you keep such stuff out of type?"
"Sometimes—if I know about it in advance. I'm sorry, Jim."
"They tell me King of William's going to print it in the Bulletin. Better see him."
"No use," put in McGowan, "that fellow's so straight (he sneered the word) that he leans over backward. Somebody'll fix him though ... you'll see." The trio wandered off to Broderick's relief, making their exit just as Cora entered the door. The gambler approached Richardson. They had a drink together, some rather loud, conversation. Broderick feared it would develop into a quarrel, but evidently they patched a truce between them, for soon they went out arm in arm.
His thought turned to Alice Windham. In a kind of reverie he left the Blue Wing, walking without sense of direction. It was getting dark; a chilling touch of fog was in the air—almost, it seemed to Broderick, like a premonition. On Clay, near Montgomery, he passed two men standing in a doorway; it was too dark to see their faces. Some impulse bade him stop, but he repressed it. Later he heard a shot, men running. But his mood was not for street brawls. He went on.
THE STORM GATHERS
It was Nesbitt who told Broderick of the murder. Nesbitt, of whom Richardson had said the night before, "he slings a wicked pen."
"My God, Jim, this is awful!" Broderick exclaimed. "You're sure there's no mistake ... I saw the two of them go out arm in arm."
"Mistake! I wish it were," cried Nesbitt angrily. "No, poor Billy Richardson is dead. Cora's in jail.... They say Cora laughed when he went to prison with Scannell.... Scannell and Mulligan!" He spat out the words with a savage distaste.
"Let me show you something, Dave. A reporter from the New York Express was out here gathering data—crime statistics for the year. He showed it to me. Listen to this: Four hundred and eighty-nine murders in California during ten months. Six executions by sheriffs, forty-six hanged by mobs; that makes fifty-two in all."
He tapped the paper with his lean forefinger. "Probably two hundred of these killings were local.... And in the entire history of this city there's been exactly one legal execution. That was in 1852."
Broderick shook his head. "What are you going to do with that stuff?" asked Broderick.
"Publish it in the Bulletin," returned Nesbitt decisively. "We're going to stir things up."
They walked along together, Broderick's head bent in thought. Everywhere people were discussing the evening's tragedy. More than once "Judge Lynch's" name was mentioned threateningly.
About the jail men swarmed, coming and going in an excited human tide. Some brandished fists at the unresponsive brick walls or called threats against Cora. As Broderick and Nesbitt passed the door, a handsome and richly clad woman emerged. Trickling tears had devastated the cosmetic smoothness of her cheeks. Her eyes looked frantic. But she proceeded calmly, almost haughtily to a waiting carriage. The driver whipped his horses and the equipage rolled on through a scattering crowd, some of whom shouted epithets after it.
"That was Belle Cora, who keeps that bawdy house up town," Nesbitt volunteered.
"Yes," said Broderick musingly, "she seemes to take it hard."
"She's mad about the fellow," Nesbitt waved a parting salutation and walked toward the Bulletin office.
Broderick turned homeward, thinking of the two dark figures he had passed on Clay street where the killing had taken place. Perchance if he had stopped as he was minded, the tragedy might have been averted. Nobody seemed to know just how it came about. The thing was most unfortunate politically. King would stir up a hornet's nest of public opinion. Broderick reached his lodgings and at once retired. His sleep was fitful. He dreamed that Alice Windham and Sheriff Scannell were fighting for his soul.
In the morning he met Benito on the plaza and the two encountered Colonel E.D. Baker.
"I hear you're Cora's counsel," said Benito with a touch of disapproval.
Baker looked at the young man over his spectacles. He was a big impressive man whose appearance as well as his words swayed juries. He commanded large fees. It was to Broderick rather than Benito that he made reply.
"That Belle woman—she calls herself Mrs. Cora—came to me last night. By the Lord, she melted my heart. She got down on her knees. How she loves that gambler!... Well, I promised to defend him, confound it." He passed on shaking his head.
"Didn't mention what his fee was," Broderick spoke cynically.
"I'm informed he tried to give it back to her this morning," said Benito. "But she wouldn't take it. Made a scene and held him to his honor." He laughed.
* * * * *
Cora's trial dragged itself into the following January on the slow feet of countless technicalities. Every legal subterfuge was exhausted by the quartet of talented and high-priced attorneys provided by Belle Cora's questionable fortune but unquestioned affection. The trial proved a feast of oratory, a mass of contradictory evidence. Before it began a juror named Jacob Mayer accused L. Sokalasky with offering him a bribe. Sokalasky, brought into court, denied the charge. And there it ended, save that thenceforth the "twelve good men and true" were exiled even from their families by the order of Judge Hagar. None the less it seemed quite evident as a morning paper cynically remarked, that the stable had been locked after the horses were stolen.
On January 17 the Cora jury announced its inability to agree. The trial ended minus a conviction.
* * * * *
Ned McGowan, James P. Casey, Sheriff Scannell and his aid, Billy Mulligan, had frequent conferences in the offices of Casey's Sunday Times. Broderick held more or less aloof from his political subordinates these troublous days. But Charley Duane, former chief engineer of the fire department, was their frequent consort. The Sunday Times concentrated its fire chiefly on James King of William. It was his biting, unstudied verbiage that struck "The Federal Brigade" on the raw.
Early in May the Times accused Thomas King, the Bulletin editor's brother, of scheming by illegal means to gain the office that Richardson's death had left vacant.
To this imputation, the Bulletin made a sharp reply. Among other items calculated to enrage his foe appeared the following:
"The fact that Casey has been an inmate of Sing Sing prison in New York is no offense against the laws of this State; nor is the fact of his having stuffed himself through the ballot box, as elected to the Board of Supervisors from a district where it is said he was not even a candidate, any justification why Mr. Bagley should shoot Casey, however richly he may deserve having his neck stretched for such fraud upon the people...."
There was more, but this was all that Casey read. He tore the paper into shreds and stamped upon it, inarticulate with fury. When at last he found his tongue a flood of obscenities flowed. He drew a pistol from his pocket; brandishing the weapon, he reached for the door knob. But Doane, who had brought the paper, caught his arm.
"Don't be a fool. Put that pistol away," he warned. "The public's crazy-mad about the Cora verdict. They won't stand for shooting King."
"Listen," said McGowan, craftily, "go up there and protest like a gentleman. Try to make the —— insult you in the presence of a witness.... Afterward—we'll see."
THE FATEFUL ENCOUNTER
James King of William sat with his back toward the door when Casey, still a-quiver with rage but endeavoring to control himself, entered the Bulletin office. He stumbled over the doorsill.
King turned. When he saw who the intruder was, he laid down a handful of proofs and rose. Casey glared at him.
"What do you mean," cried the politician, trying to speak calmly, "by publishing that article about me in the Bulletin?"
King transfixed him with accusing eyes. "About the ballot-box stuffing ... or your Sing Sing record, Casey?" he inquired.
"You—you know well enough," blustered Casey. "It's an outrage to rake up a man's past.... A fellow's sensitive about such things."
He shook a fist at King. "If necessary, I'll defend myself."
"Very well," responded King. "That's your prerogative. You've a paper of your own.... And now get out of here," he added curtly. "Never show your face inside this door again."
Later at the Bank Exchange McGowan found the supervisor cursing as he raised a glass of whiskey with a trembling hand.
"Well, did you make him insult you?"
"Damn him," was all Casey could answer. "Damn him. Damn him." He tossed the raw liquor down his throat and poured another drink. McGowan smiled.
"You can do that till Doomsday and it won't hurt him." McGowan's voice rang with contempt. "Is that all you can do? Are you afraid—"
Casey interrupted fiercely. "I'm NOT afraid. You know it. I'll get even."
"Never mind. You'll see," the politician muttered darkly.
"You're a drunken fool," remarked McGowan. "You've no chance with King. He's twice as big as you. He carries a derringer. And he shoots straight. Listen to me." He dragged the other to a corner of the room; they sat there for at least an hour arguing, drinking.
* * * * *
James King of William watched Casey's exit from the Bulletin with a smile. He recalled his wife's warning that morning as he left his home, "Look out for Casey, James."
"Pooh, Charlotte," he had reassured her. "I've far worse enemies than that prison rat."
She had merely smiled, smoothed a wrinkle from his coat and kissed him, a worried look in her eyes. Then the children had gathered round him. Little Annie wanted a toy piano, Joe some crayons for his work at school.
Remembering this, King seized a desk pad, wrote on it some words of memoranda. Then he straightway forgot Casey in the detail of work.
When the Bulletin was off the press, the pad, with its written inscription, caught his eye and he shoved it into a side pocket.
"Well, I'm going home," he said to Nesbitt. "Must buy a few things for the children."
Nesbitt looked up half absently from his writing. "Afternoon," he greeted. "Better take your derringer. Don't know what might happen."
King shrugged himself into the talma cape, which he usually wore on the streets. It is doubtful if he heard Nesbitt's warning. With a nod to Gerberding he sauntered slowly out, enjoying the mellow spring sunshine, filtering now and then through wisps of fog. As he turned into Montgomery street he almost collided with Benito Windham, who, brief case under arm, was striding rapidly southward. They exchanged a cordial greeting. Benito looked after the tall courtly figure crossing Montgomery street diagonally toward a big express wagon. Benito thought he could discern a quick nervous movement back of it. A man stepped out, directly across King's path.
He was James P. Casey, tremendously excited. His right hand shook violently. His hat was on one side of his head; he was apparently intoxicated. King did not notice him until they were almost abreast.
Casey's arm was outstretched, pointed at King's breast. "Draw and defend yourself," he said loudly. He shut his eyes and a little puff of smoke seemed to spring from the ends of his fingers, followed in the fraction of a second by a sharp report.
Benito ran with all his might toward the men. He did not think that King was hit, for the editor turned toward the Pacific Express office. On the threshold he stumbled. A clerk ran out and caught the tall figure as it collapsed.
Benito looked about for King's assailant. He saw a group of men on Washington street, but was unable to distinguish Casey among them, though McGowan's lanky form was visible.
At Benito's feet lay a pocket-memorandum marked with a splash of red. The young man picked it up and read:
"Piano for Annie.
"Crayons for Joe.
A man with a medicine case shouldered his way in. He was Dr. Hammond. "Get a basin," he ordered, "some warm water." He unbuttoned the wounded man's coat, looking grave as he saw the spreading red stain on his shirt.
"Will he get well, doctor?" shouted a dozen voices.
"Can't tell ... 'fraid not," Hammond answered, and a sympathetic silence followed his announcement.
Someone cried: "Where's Casey?"
Word came that Casey was in jail. "He gave himself up," a man said.
Presently there was a sound of carriage wheels. A white-faced woman made her way to the express office. The crowd stood with bared heads as it opened a way for her passage. The woman was Mrs. King. They heard her sobbing.
Gerberding and Nesbitt came and made their exit after a short stay. Tears ran down Nesbitt's cheeks. "I told him so," they heard him muttering, "I told him so.... He wouldn't listen.... Didn't take his pistol."
Last of all came William Coleman, lips pressed tightly together, eyes hard. He remained only a few moments. Benito hailed him as he emerged from the express office.
"Any chance of recovery?"
"Very little." The tone was grim.
"I hate to think of what may happen if he dies?" Windham commented.
"Hell will break loose," Coleman stated with conviction. "Better come along, Benito. I'm going to find Ike Bluxome. It's time we prepared."
THE COMMITTEE ORGANIZES
When Benito rode up Montgomery street next morning he saw a litter being carried out of the Pacific Express Office. Beside it, were Mrs. King, Dr. Hammond and John Sime. They walked very slowly and the crowd fell back on either side as the litter-bearers progressed.
Benito's heart stood still a moment. "Is he—?" the question formed reluctantly upon his lips. But David Broderick, standing by, reassured him.
"No, not dead. Thank Heaven! They're taking him to more comfortable quarters. A room in the Montgomery Block. They've postponed the operation on the artery; as a last resort."
"Dave," said Windham, seriously, "do you suppose you'll be blamed for this?"
"Good God, man! No," returned the other. "Not even Gwin would dare to lay this at my door. There's no politics in it. At least none of mine."
"Yet Casey was one of your men. They'll say that."
"Let them," answered Broderick angrily. "I've no more to do with it than you—nor Coleman, who, they tell me, is forming another Vigilance Committee."
"Yes," said Windham. "They're to meet at the old Know Nothing Hall on Sacramento street. I'm going there now."
"Well I'm bound for a talk with Will Sherman; he's been appointed head of the militia. Just in time I should say. He'll be needed before order is restored."
They shook hands. Benito looked after his friend uneasily. Broderick was on the wrong side, the young man thought; was taking an unwise tack. But no one could argue with Broderick ... unless it were Alice. They must have Dave to dinner again.
* * * * *
The street in front of Know Nothing Hall, a long two-story brick building was already crowded. One by one men were admitted—or rejected. Now and then a man would fall out of the line muttering wrathfully.
"They're taking mighty good care not to let any of Scannell's friends get in," a man behind Benito confided. "The Sheriff's sent a dozen 'plants' this morning but Bluxome weeds them out unfailingly."
After a time Benito found himself at the wicket, gazing into Isaac Bluxome's shrewd eyes. He was passed immediately with a smile of welcome and found himself in a large room of the "lodge" variety. There was a desk behind which sat William Coleman and Charles Doane.
About one hundred men moved about talking animatedly in groups and among these Benito noted many of his fellows of the '51 committee.
Presently Coleman spoke.
"Gentlemen, it has been decided to reorganize the Vigilance Committee. Mr. Bluxome and I have assumed the initiative, without any idea of placing ourselves at the head of the organization. Neither of us desire more than a chance to serve—in whatever capacity you may determine. We have prepared a form of oath, which I suggest shall be signed by each of us with his name and the number of his enrollment. Afterward he shall be known by that number only."
He read the oath: "I do solemnly swear to act with the Vigilance Committee and second and sustain in full all their actions as expressed through the executive committee."
"That's good!" "That's the ticket!" affirmed a score of voices. Coleman held up a quill pen invitingly, "Who'll be first to sign?"
"You, Mr. Coleman," said Benito firmly, "you must be our chief."
A cheer followed. Coleman demurred but in vain. They would have no one else. So, at last he put his name upon the paper, adding after it "No. 1."
Others came up and affixed their signatures: C.J. Dempster, the Post brothers, Alfred Rix, P.G. Childs and so on. Bluxome, relieved from his post, was No. 33. It proved in after days a potent numeral for it represented the secretarial seal on documents which spelled doom to evildoers; hope, law and order to an outraged populace.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, McGowan, Scannell and his clan had not been idle. On the night of the shooting one hundred men proceeded to the Pacific street wharf where the Coliah and Seabird were anchored. From each of these, by force of arms, but with a promise of return, they took a ship's cannon which they dragged by means of two long ropes, uphill to the county stronghold.
* * * * *
On Thursday morning Mayor Van Ness stalked into Turner, Lucas & Company's bank and button-holed the manager. This was William T. Sherman, late of the United States army.
"Sherman," said Van Ness excitedly, "is it true that you've been appointed major-general in charge of the second division of the California Militia?"
"It is," retorted Sherman. His calm demeanor as he answered, without even looking up from the stock sheets which engrossed him, contrasted sharply with the fuming unrest of Van Ness. The latter now seized Sherman's sleeve.
"Lay those down and come with me," he urged. "We need you instantly. Armed mobs are organizing to destroy the jail and seize the city government. It's your duty, sir, your manifest duty—"
"All right, mayor," Sherman said, "I'll go along." He called a clerk and gave some orders. Then he slipped the stock sheets into a drawer and took his hat from a peg.
They strode along together, Van Ness gesturing and talking; Sherman's head slightly bent as if in thought. Now and then he asked a curt question.
The crowd about the jail had dwindled to a few curiosity seekers. The center of public interest had shifted to Know Nothing Hall where Vigilantes were still enrolling.
Sherman and Van Ness found Sheriff Scannell, Ned McGowan, Billy Mulligan and the prisoner Casey in vehement consultation. They welcomed the soldier and mayor with manifest relief.
"I'm glad you came," said Mulligan, "things look bad. There'll be Hell poppin'—if that d—— fool dies."
"If you are referring to Mr. King, speak of him with respect." Sherman's tone was like a whiplash. The soldier turned to Scannell. "How many men have you? Men on whom you can depend in a crisis?"
Scannell hesitated. "A hundred maybe ... but," he looked at Sherman hopefully, "there's your militia. Some of them served last night."
"They've refused further service," said Van Ness. "I'm told that most of them have gone over to the Vigilantes ... and taken their arms along."
Sherman stroked his chin. "This place is not impregnable by any means," he remarked. "The first thing we must do is to secure the buildings on each side."
"Too late," groaned Scannell. "I tried to find lodgings for some of my guards at Mrs. Hutchinson's boarding house. She slammed the door in my face. I tried the other side and found that Coleman and Bluxome had an option on it. They've already sent men to guard both places."
"Then," Sherman told them, "you cannot defend this jail against a well planned attack. Perhaps they'll not resort to force," he added hopefully. "The Governor's coming down to talk with Coleman."
GOVERNOR JOHNSON MEDIATES
On the second day after the shooting, Governor J. Neely Johnson arrived on the evening boat. Mayor Van Ness had sent him a panicky message, imploring him to drop all else and hasten to San Francisco. The Mayor and William K. Garrison met him at the dock. They almost pushed the Governor into a carriage which was driven hastily to the International Hotel.
In his room, behind closed doors, the Governor spoke a trifle irritably: "What the devil's all this row about, Van Ness? The town seems quiet enough. You spoke of civil war."
"Coleman's organized another Vigilance Committee," Garrison took it upon himself to answer. "You know how impulsive San Franciscans are. They're in for anything. Two thousand have already joined. They've bought all the arms in town except a few that Sheriff Scannell seized in the militia armories. Scannell's sent out a hurry call for deputies—"
"But," broke in the Governor, incredulously, "you say Coleman's doing this. I can't believe it. Coleman's a good man, a quiet fellow. He's my friend. I'll go to him at once."
He rose, but Garrison, the politic, raised his hand. "Let him come to you. Summon him. The effect is much better."
"As you say," acceded Johnson with a smile. "Send for Coleman, with my compliments." He resumed his seat and picked up an Evening Bulletin, shaking his head. "Poor King, I hear he's dying."
"A dangerous man," remarked Garrison as he left the room.
"He is a lot less dangerous alive—than dead," the Mayor shivered. "As a reformer he'd soon have ceased to interest the public. Nobody interests them long. But as a martyr!" he threw up his hands. "God help San Francisco!"
They discussed the dangers of a public outbreak till a knock at the door interrupted them.
It proved to be Garrison, accompanied by the Vigilante chief. "Hello, Coleman," the Governor greeted, cordially. The two shook hands. "What's this I hear about your Vigilante recrudescence?" He smote his hands together with a catechising manner. "What do you people want?"
"We want peace," responded Coleman.
"And, to get it, you prepare for war. What do you expect to accomplish?"
"What the Vigilantes did in '51—"
Briefly and concisely he outlined the frightful condition of affairs in San Francisco; the straining of public patience to its present breaking point.
"Now, Governor," he said, impressively, "you've been called on by the Mayor and a certain class to bring out the militia and put down this movement. I assure you it cannot be done. It's not the way to treat the question...."
"What is the way, then?" Johnson asked, aggressively.
"Allow us to clean our Augean stables without more than a formal opposition from the State. Issue your necessary proclamations to maintain the dignity of the law. But don't interfere with our work. We shall get through with it quickly—and be glad to quit, I promise you."
He rose and Johnson with him. Suddenly the Governor slapped the Vigilante chief a rousing whack upon the shoulder. "Go ahead, old boy! But hurry up. There is terrible opposition. Terrific pressure."
* * * * *
Turn Verein Hall that evening was a busy place. A dozen companies were drilling on the big gymnasium floor. Men who had never shouldered guns were executing orders with an ardor and a concentration which concealed much awkwardness of unfamiliarity.
The garb and condition of recruits were vividly diversified. Doctor, teamster, lawyer, stevedore and banker, they were actuated by a common spirit, working through the manual of arms together, conscious of no caste.
Benito and Adrian, who had come in late, surveyed the drilling. Warren Olney, big and forceful, gave them cordial welcome. "You're both in my company," he informed them. "We've graded all the signers of the roll according to their numbers. That is, the first hundred signers make the first company, the second hundred another. And so on."
"How about cavalry and artillery?" Benito questioned.
"Oh, we'll have both, don't worry," Charles Doane answered them. "Two vessels in the harbor have contributed cannon; we'll mount them on the foreparts of wagons. That's where Olney and his men will come in. And we've splendid riders, though the troops are still to be rounded into shape." He passed on hurriedly to execute some commission. "There's a splendid fellow," Olney said. "He's to be grand marshal of our forces." He took Benito and Adrian by the arm and led them toward a group of waiting men. "We must get our battery organized."
A messenger strode hastily across the room seeking Coleman, who conferred with Doane in a distant corner. "The Governor's outside," he whispered as he passed.
* * * * *
Coleman, entering the ante-room in answer to a summons, found Governor Johnson; his brother; W. K. Garrison and William Sherman, head of the somewhat depleted militia. A subtle change was noticeable in Johnson's manner. He spoke with brusque official authority, as if no previous interview had taken place:
"Mr. Coleman, what are you and your committee plotting? Can't this trouble be adjusted here and now?"
Coleman accepted the situation. He saw that opposition forces had been active.
"We are tired of outlawry and assassination, Governor," he answered. "We've determined to endure them no longer. Street shooting's got to stop!"
"I agree with you," the Governor admitted. "I've come down from Sacramento to aid. But this is a matter for the courts, and not for you to adjust. Our judges are honest. You can't impugn a man like Norton." He lowered his voice. "I'll see that Norton tries the case; that a grand jury indicts Casey. I'll do everything I can to force a trial, a conviction—and a speedy execution.... I've no right to make such promises. But I'll do it—to save this city the disgrace of a mob."
Coleman raised his head. "This is no mob. You know it, Governor," he answered. "We've no faith in Sheriff Scannell nor his juries." He turned to Sherman. "This committee is a deliberative body, sir; regularly organized with officers and men, an executive council. The best men in the city are its members...."
"And you are its Czar," remarked Garrison, tauntingly.
"I am chairman by their choice—not mine," said Coleman, tartly. "To show you that I make no personal decisions, I will call other members of the council." He bowed and withdrew, returning in a few moments with the brothers Arrington, Thomas Smiley, Seymour and Truitt. The two sides went over the ground a second time. Smiley insisted that Casey be delivered to the Vigilantes. Johnson suggested that the committee continue its labors, but permit the court to try Casey, even in the event of King's death. An impasse loomed. Finally came Coleman's ultimatum: "If Sheriff Scannell will permit ten of our members to join the guard over Casey, this committee will agree to make no overt move—until our guards are withdrawn and you are notified."
"Done," agreed the Governor, hastily.
THE TRUCE IS BROKEN
On the Garvez ranch, at sunset, the 17th of May, David Broderick found a gracious interval of peace. It seemed almost incredible to be dining in the patio with Benito and Alice against a background of fragrant honeysuckle and early roses. The long sloping mesas were bright with golden poppies; fleecy white clouds bedecked the azure of a western sky, flushing now with carmine tints. Cowbells tinkled musically faint with distance and from the vaquero quarters came a herder's song, a woman's laughter, the tinkle of a guitar.
"What are you dreaming of, my friend?" asked Alice Windham, gently.
"It is very like a dream," he smiled at her, "this place of yours. So near the city. Yet so far removed in its enchantment....
"Down there," he pointed toward the town, where lights were springing up out of the dusk, "a man lies dying ... and a mob plots vengeance."
"Oh, come," Benito voiced a protest, "we're not a mob, Dave. You know that." He laid a hand upon the other's arm. "I understand how hard it's been for you.... You're suffering for the sins of underlings unfit to lace your boots."
"Against whom you warned me not long since," said Broderick to Alice.
"Casey, Mulligan. Yes, I remember ... you resented it a little, didn't you?"
"No," he said, his eyes upon her with that eager look, repressed and yearning, which she could not always meet. "No, dear lady; it was not resentment.... But it hurt."
Alice turned from him to her husband. "Tell me what they've done today, Benito."
Windham's eyes shone. "You should see Will Coleman. Ah, he's a leader incomparable. We've got nearly 6,000 men. Infantry, artillery, cavalry. A police force, too, for patrolling the streets day and night."
"And what is the other side doing?" Alice asked.
"They've got the Governor wobbling," said Benito. "Sooner or later he'll call out the militia...."
"But they've got no ammunition, no guns, I understand," responded Broderick. "Sherman tried to commandeer those flintlock muskets from the Mexican war—several thousand of them—but Coleman got them first."
"Yes," affirmed Benito. "The Sheriff's seized some scattered arms. But that is not what Coleman fears. It's Federal interference. They're trying to get General Wool to give them rifles from the arsenal at Benicia, perhaps a gunboat from the navy yard."
"That means—civil warfare," Broderick said, aghast.
Alice Windham rose and the two men with her. She took an arm of each. "Come," she pleaded, "let us put it all away—this turmoil of men's hatred ... let us walk here in the sweet-scented evening and forget."
"I wish we might," said Broderick quickly. "What will happen in the next few days may never be forgotten."
Swiftly, Alice turned to him; looked up into his face. "Do you think," she asked, so low that he could scarcely catch the words, "do you think, Dave, that you're safe?"
Broderick caught his breath. Involuntarily his eyes strayed toward Benito. But the latter was so patently absorbed in sunset splendors that Broderick sighed as if relieved. It seemed as though some holy thing had passed between him and this woman. In her look, her simple question lay a shadowy, half-spoken answer to his heart's unuttered prayer. For a moment the world seemed aglow with some strange, quiet glory. Then he said, quite calmly: "I? Oh, yes, I'm safe enough."
* * * * *
Saturday passed without much change in King's condition. He was sinking slowly, despite his rugged strength, his will to live and the unceasing efforts of the city's best physicians.
The Law and Order Party was being organized out of various elements that viewed alarmedly the Vigilantes' growing power. Religious, political, social elements combined in this new faction. In it were men of note, distinction, undisputed honor; and rascals of the worst degree.
Ned McGowan, it was rumored, had gone into hiding. Broderick kept to himself and took no sides, yet. Many sought him for support and for advice, but he repulsed them tactfully, remaining in his room to read; walking silently about at twilight. He had a way of standing on a hilltop, losing count of minutes, even hours. Thus Adrian surprised him one evening gazing down on San Francisco's winking street lamps as the night came down.
"Hello, Dave," he said, "why so pensive?"
Quietly as he spoke the other started. "I was wondering about tomorrow...."
Broderick looked around to satisfy himself that there was no one else to hear. "Coleman will withdraw his Vigilante guard from the jail on Sunday morning.... Oh, yes," he added, as the other seemed surprised, "I have my agents in the Committee's camp. Not to harm them. I don't hold with spies and treachery.... But I have to keep informed."
Adrian looked at his friend, astonished. This was news to him. Broderick went on: "The Governor's indirectly forced their hand. Coleman knows that violent forces are at work to overthrow his Vigilantes; that the Governor's aiding them. So he's decided to strike."
"Tomorrow, eh!" said Adrian thoughtfully. "That means bloodshed, probably."
Broderick turned a gloomy countenance toward him. "I don't know," he answered, and resumed his gazing. Adrian went on. He looked back after he had gone a hundred yards. The other man remained there, immobile and silent as a statue.
Governor J. Neely Johnson paced up and down the confines of his suite at the International Hotel. In a chair sprawled Mayor Van Ness, his fingers opening and shutting spasmodically upon the leather upholstery. Volney Howard leaned in a swaggering posture against the mantelpiece, smoking a big cigar and turning at intervals to expectorate out of one corner of his mouth.
"Well," said Howard, "the President's turned us down. We get no Federal aid, I understand. What next?"
Johnson stopped his pacing. "I fancy Coleman will have to answer that question. Our cue is to wait."
"'He also serves who stands and waits'," quoted Howard sardonically.
There came a knock at the door. Van Ness, arising quickly, answered it. A uniformed page stood on the threshold bearing a silver platter on which reposed two letters. Something about the incident again aroused Howard's sense of humor. "Like a play," he muttered. "'My Lord, the carriage waits.'"
With an exclamation of annoyance the Governor stepped forward, took the two envelopes, displacing them with a bit of silver, and dismissed the boy. He opened both missives before examining either. Then he stood for a moment, a rectangle of paper in either hand, frowning.
Van Ness, peering over the Governor's shoulder, read:
We have given up hope for Mr. King's recovery. His death is a matter of days, perhaps hours.
We beg to inform your Excellency that the Vigilance Committee's guard at the county jail has been withdrawn.
THE COMMITTEE STRIKES
On Sunday morning, May 18th, all of San Francisco was astir at dawn. There was none of the usual late breakfasting, the leisurely perusal of a morning paper.
In some mysterious fashion word had gone abroad that history would be made this morning. The odd and feverish expectancy which rides, an unseen herald in the van of large events, was everywhere.
A part of this undue activity resulted from the summoning of male members out of nearly three thousand households for military duty to begin at 9 o'clock. Long before that hour the general headquarters of the Vigilantes swarmed with members.
* * * * *
As a neighboring clock struck noon, the Vigilantes debouched into the street, an advance guard of riders clearing that thoroughfare of crowding spectators. First came Captain James N. Olney commanding the Citizens' Guard of sixty picked men, so soldierly in appearance that their coming evoked a cheer.
Company 11, officered by Captain Donnelly and Lieutenant Frank Eastman came next, and after them a company of French citizens, very straight and gallant in appearance; then a German company. Followed at precise and military intervals a score or more of companies, with their gleaming bayonets, each standing at attention until the entire host had been assembled. Now and then some bystander cried a greeting. On the roofs were now a fringe of colored parasols, a fluttering of handkerchiefs. One might have deemed it a parade save for a certain grimness, the absence of bands. There was a hush as Marshal Doane rode all along the line and paused at the head to review his troops. One could hear him clearly as he raised his sabre and commanded, "Forward, march!" At the sidelines the lieutenants chanted:
"Hup! Hup! Hup-hup-hup!"
Legs began to move in an impressive clock-work unison. Gradually the thousands of bayonets took motion, seemed to flow along like some strange stream of scintillating lights.
* * * * *
On the roof of the International Hotel the Governor, the Mayor, Major-General Sherman of the State Militia, Volney Howard and a little group of others watched the Vigilantes as they marched up Sacramento street. The Governor seemed calm enough; only the spasmodic puffs from his cigar betrayed agitation. Van Ness walked back and forth, cramming his hands into his breeches pockets and withdrawing them every ten seconds. Volney looked down with his usual sardonic smile but his eyes were bitter with hate. Sherman alone displayed the placidity of a soldier.
"Look at the damned rabble!" exclaimed Howard. "They're dividing. Some are going up Pacific street to Kearney, some to Dupont and ... yes, a part of them on Stockton."
"It's what you call an enfilading movement," said Sherman quietly.
* * * * *
In the county jail were Sheriff Scannell, Harrison his deputy, Marshal North, Billy Mulligan the jailor, and a small guard. Some of these watched proceedings from the roof, now and then descending to report to Scannell. Cora, in his cell, played solitaire and Casey made pretense of reading a book.
Presently Scannell entered the room where Casey sat; it was not a cell nor had the door been locked since the withdrawal of the Vigilante guard. Casey looked up quickly. "What's the latest news from King?"
"He's dying, so they say," retorted Scannell.
"Dave," it was almost a whisper. "You've been to Broderick? Curse him, won't he turn his hand to help a friend?"
"Easy, Billy," said the Sheriff. "Broderick's never been your friend; you know that well enough. Your boss, perhaps. But even so, he couldn't help you. No one can.... This town's gone mad."
"What d'ye mean?" asked Casey in a frightened whisper.
"Billy," spoke the Sheriff, "have a drink." He poured a liberal potion from a bottle standing on the table. Casey drained the glass, his eyes never leaving Scannell's. "Now," resumed the Sheriff, "listen, boy, and take it cool. THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU!"
At first Casey made no reply. One might have thought he had not heard, save for the widening of his eyes.
"You—you'll not let them take me, Dave?" he said, after a silence. "You'll fight?"
Scannell's hand fell on the other's shoulder. "I've only thirty men; they're a hundred to one. They've a cannon."
They looked at one another. Casey closed his fists and straightened slightly. "Give me a case-knife, Dave," he pleaded. "I'll not let them take me. I'll—"
Silently, Scannell drew from his boot a knife in a leather sheath. Casey grasped it, feverishly, concealing it beneath his vest. "How soon?" he asked, "how soon?"
Scannell strode to the window. "They're outside now," he informed the shrinking Casey. "The executive committee's in front ... the Citizens' Guard is forming a hollow square around them.... Miers Truett's coming to the door."
Casey drew the knife; raised it dramatically. "I'll not let them take me," he shouted, as if to bolster up courage by the sound of his own voice. "I'll never leave this place alive."
Sheriff Scannell, summoned by a deputy, looked over his shoulder. "Oh, yes, you will," he muttered. In his tone were pity and disdain.
* * * * *
Early Tuesday afternoon Benito and Broderick met in front of the Montgomery Block. The former had just been released from duty at Committee Headquarters, where a guard of 300 men was, night and day, maintained.
"Casey has spent most of his time writing since we captured him," Benito told his friend. "He recovered his nerve when he found we'd no intention of hanging him without a trial. Of course, if King should live, he'll get off lightly. And then, there's Cora—"
"Yes, he'll be a problem, if the other one's released," said Broderick. "Unless King dies this whole eruption of the Vigilantes will fall flat."
Benito nodded, half reluctantly. "It seems—like destiny," he muttered. Suddenly his head jerked upward. "What is that?"
A man came running out of the Montgomery Block. He seemed excited. His accelerated pace continued as he sped down Sacramento street. Presently another made his exit; ran like mad, uphill, toward the jail.
Dr. Hammond, looking very grim, came hurriedly out of the door and entered a closed carriage. It drove off instantly. Then everything went on as usual. The two men stood there, watchful, expectant. The town seemed unusually still. A flag on a two-story building flapped monotonously. Then a man across the street ran out of his store and pointed upward. A rope was thrown from an upper window of the Montgomery Block. Someone picked it up and carried it to The Bulletin Building, pulled it taut. On a strip of linen had been hastily inscribed the following announcement, stretched across the street:
"THE GREAT AND GOOD IS DEAD. WHO WILL NOT MOURN?"
Cora's trial was in progress. In the upper front room of Vigilante headquarters sat the tribunal upon whose decision Cora's fate would rest. They were grouped about a long table, twenty-nine men, the executive committee. At their head sat William Coleman, grim and stern, despite his clear complexion and his youthful, beardless mien. Near him, Isaac Bluxome, keen-eyed, shrewd, efficient, made notes of the proceedings.
Cora, affecting an air of nonchalance, and, as ever, immaculate in dress, sat between his counsel, Miers F. Truett and Thomas J.L. Smiley, while John P. Manrow acted as the prosecutor.
The gambler's eyes were fixed upon the trio when he was not searching the faces of those other silent men about the board. They were dressed in black. There was about them an air of impassivity almost removed from human emotion, and Cora could not but contrast them with the noisy, chewing, spitting, red-shirted jury at his previous trial, where Belle Cora's thousands had proved efficacious in securing disagreement. There would be no disagreement here. Instinctively, Cora knew that.
Marshal Doane entered. He held in his hand a folded paper. Coleman and the others looked at him expectantly. "It is my great misfortune to report that James King of William is dead," said Doane. There was a buzz of comment, almost instantly stilled by Coleman's gavel. "Damn!" said the gambler under his breath.
"Gentlemen, we will proceed with the trial," Coleman spoke. The examination of witnesses went on. But there was a difference. Cora noticed it. Sometimes, with an involuntary, shuddering gesture, he touched the skin above his flowing collar.
Casey, when informed of King's death, trembled. "Your trial begins tomorrow," Doane informed him. "They'll finish with Cora tonight."
* * * * *
Thursday morning carpenters were seen at work on the Vigilante building. A stout beam was projected from the roof over two of the upper windows facing Sacramento street; to these pulleys were attached.
Platforms were extended from the window sills. They were about three feet long and were seen to be hinged at the sills. The ends were held up by ropes fastened to the beams overhead.
Stouter ropes next appeared, one end passing through the pulleys overhead, then they were caught up in nooses. The other ends were in the committee rooms.
Men tested the platforms by standing on them; tried the nooses; found them strong. Then the carpenters retired. The windows were closed.
A crowd below looked up expectantly, but nothing happened until noon, when military companies formed lines along Sacramento, Front and Davis streets. Cannon were placed to command all possible approaches. The great alarm bell of the Vigilantes sounded.
By this time every roof near by was thronged with people. A cry went up as the windows of Vigilante headquarters were opened. At each stood a man, his arms pinioned. He advanced to the edge of the platform.
* * * * *
Bells were tolling. Black bunting was festooned from hundreds of doors and windows. All the flags of the city were at half-mast, even those of ships in the Bay.
From the Unitarian Church on Stockton street, between Clay and Sacramento, came the funeral cortege on its way to the burial ground at Lone Mountain. Everywhere along the route people stood with bared heads.
Little Joe King, a son of the murdered editor, 10 years of age, sat stiff and stunned by the strangeness of it all in a carriage beside Mrs. John Sime. Mr. and Mrs. Sime were great friends of his father and mother, and Mrs. Sime, whom he sometimes called "Auntie," had taken him into her carriage, since that of the widow was filled.
Little Joe did not know what to make of it all. He knew, somehow, vaguely, that his father had been put into a long box that had silver handles and was covered with flowers. He knew of that mystery called death, but he had not visualized it closely heretofore. The thing overwhelmed him. Just now he could only realize that his father was being honored as no one had ever before been honored in San Francisco. That was something he could take hold of.
As the carriage approached Sacramento street the crowd thickened. He heard a high-pitched voice that seemed almost to be screaming. He made out phrases faintly:
"... God!... My poor mother!... Let nobody call ... murderer ... God save me ... only 29 ..."
Swiftly the screaming stopped. A strange silence fell on the crowd. They turned their heads and looked down Sacramento street. Little Joe could stand the curiosity no longer. He craned his neck to see. Far down the street soldiers were standing before a building. Everybody watched them open-mouthed. In front of the building on a high platform two men stood as if they were making speeches. But they did not move their arms, and their heads looked very queer ... as if they had bags over them.
Then, unexpectedly, Mrs. Sime forced him back. She pulled the curtain on the left side of the carriage. Little Joe heard a half-suppressed roar go up from the throng. For an instant the carriage halted. He was grievously disappointed not to witness the thing which held the public eye. Then the carriage went on.
* * * * *
Later, another funeral wended its way through the streets. It was at night and ill attended. A handsome woman followed it with streaming eyes; a woman who lived by an evil trade, and the inmates of whose house were given over to sin. Early that morning she had married a murderer. Now she was a widow with a broken heart—she whom many stigmatized as heartless.
For many years she was to visit and to weep over the grave of a little dark man who had touched her affections; who might, under happier conditions, have awakened her soul. She was Mrs. Charles Cora, born Arabella Ryan, and widely known as "Belle," the mistress of a bawdy house.
A few members of Casey's fire engine company paid him final honors. Shrived, before his execution, he was laid in holy ground, a stone erected over his grave.
* * * * *
The city returned more or less to its normal activities. But the Vigilante Committee remained in active session. It had avenged the deaths of Richardson and King, but it had other work to do.
About this time, Yankee Sullivan, prize-fighter, ballot-box stuffer and political plug-ugly, killed himself in Vigilante quarters, evidently mad with fear.
Ned McGowan, made of different stuff, arch plotter, thought by many to be the instigator of King's murder, went into hiding.
HINTS OF CIVIL WAR
After the hanging a temporary reaction took place—a let-down from the hectic, fevered agitations of preceding days. Members of the Law and Order Party were secretly relieved by the removal of Casey and Cora.
"Now that they've shot their bolt, we'll have peace," said Hall McAllister to Broderick. But the latter shook his head. "They've only started, Mac," he answered, "don't deceive yourself. These Vigilantes are business men; they've a business-like organization. Citizens are still enlisting ... seven thousand now, I understand."
"Damn them!" said the lawyer, broodingly, "what d'ye think they'll be up to next?"
"Don't damn them too much." Broderick's smile held a grim sort of humor. "They're going to break up a political organization it's taken me years to perfect. That ought to please you a little."
McAllister laughed. The two men shook hands and parted. They were political enemies—McAllister of the Southern or "Chivalry" clan, which yearned to make a slave State out of California; Broderick an uncompromising Northerner and Abolitionist. Yet they respected one another, and a queer, almost secret friendship existed between them. Farther down the street Broderick met Benito. "I've just been talking with your boss," he said.
"No longer," Windham informed him. "McAllister didn't like my Vigilante leanings. So we parted amiably enough. I'll study law on my own hook from now on. I've had a bit of good luck."
"Ah," said the other. "Glad to hear it. An inheritance?"
"Something like it," Windham answered. "Do you remember when I went to the mines I met a man named Burthen? Alice's father, you know. We had a mining claim together," His brow clouded. "He was murdered at the Eldorado.... Well, that's neither here nor there.... But it left me the claim. I didn't think it was worth much. But I've sold it to an Eastern syndicate."
"Good!" cried Broderick. "Congratulations."
They shook hands. "Ten thousand," Benito informed him. "We've had an offer for the ranch, too. Company wants to make it into small allotments.... Think of that! A few years ago we were far in the country. Now it's suburban property. They're even talking of street cars."
* * * * *
At Vigilante Headquarters Benito found unusual activity. Drays were backing up to the doors, unloading bedding, cots, a number of cook-stoves. Men were carrying in provisions. Coleman came out with Bluxome. They surveyed the work a moment, chatting earnestly, then parted.
"We're equipping a commissary and barracks," thus a member informed Benito. "Doesn't look much like disbanding, does it? The Chivs. think we're through. No such luck. This is costing me $50 a day in my business," he sighed. "We've got a dozen blacklegs, shoulder-strikers and ballot-stuffers in there now, awaiting trial. We've turned all the petty offenders over to the police."
Benito laughed. "And have you noticed this: The Police Courts are convicting every single one of them promptly!"
"Yes, they're learning their lessons ... but we've trouble ahead. These Southerners and politicians have the Governor in their pocket. He's sent two men to Washington to ask the President for troops. Farragut has been asked to bombard the city. He's refused. But General Wool has promised them arms from Benicia if the Governor and Sherman prove that anarchy exists."
"They can't," Benito contended.
"Not by fair means, no.... But that won't stop them. Yesterday Chief Justice Terry of the Supreme Court issued a habeas corpus writ for Billy Mulligan, Harrison came down today and served it."
"What happened?" asked Benito, eagerly.
"Well, the hotheads wanted to resist—to throw him out. But Bluxome saw through the scheme—to get us on record as defying Federal authority. So he hid Billy Mulligan and let Harrison search. Of course he found no one. We were politely regretful."
"Which settles that," remarked Benito, chuckling.
"Not so fast, old boy!" the other Vigilante cautioned. "Harrison's no fool. He couldn't go back outwitted.... So he simply lied. Wrote on the warrant, 'service resisted by force.'"
* * * * *
On the following day Major General Sherman of the State Militia received the following document, dated "Executive Department, Sacramento, June 2d, 1856":
Information having been received by me that an armed body of men are now organized in the City and County of San Francisco, in this State, in violation of law; and that they have resisted the due execution of law by preventing a service of a writ of habeas corpus duly issued; and that they are threatening other acts of violence and rebellion against the constitution and the laws of the State; you are hereby commanded to call upon such number as you may deem necessary of the enrolled militia, or those subject to military duty, also upon all the voluntary independent companies of the military division under your command—to report, organize, etc., and act with you in the enforcement of the law.
J. NEELY JOHNSON.
* * * * *
Two days after the Governor's proclamation half a dozen of the prisoners in "Fort Gunnybags" were exiled by the Vigilance Committee. Each, after a regular and impartial trial, was found guilty of offenses against the law. The sentence was banishment, with death as the penalty for return. Under a strong guard of Vigilance Committee police the malodorous sextet were marched through town, and placed aboard the steamer Hercules. A squad of Vigilantes remained until the vessel left her dock to see that they did not escape. Thus did the Committee answer Governor Johnson's proclamation. The fortification of the Vigilante Headquarters went on. Hundreds of gunnysacks filled with sand were piled in front of the building as a protection against artillery fire. This continued for days until a barricade ten feet high and six feet thick had been erected with embrasures for cannon and a loop-holed platform for riflemen. Cannon were placed on the roof of the building where the old Monumental firebell had been installed as a tocsin of war.
In the meantime Sherman was enrolling men. They came in rather fast, most of them law-breakers seeking protection, and a small minority of reputable citizens honestly opposed to Vigilante methods. But the armories were bare of rifles and ammunition. Sherman dispatched a hasty requisition to General Wool, reminding him of his promise. Days passed and no arms arrived. The new recruits were calling for them. Some of them drilled with wooden staves and were laughed at. They quit in disgust. Then Sherman went to Sacramento. Something was wrong. Johnson, nervous and distraught, showed him a letter from General Wool. It was briefly and politely to the effect that he had no authority to issue arms without a permit from the War Department.
Sherman, always for action, seized his hat. "Come," he said, as though the Governor were a subaltern. "We'll go to Benicia. We must have a talk with General Wool." And the Governor went.
But Wool, though courteous, proved obdurate. The militia remained unarmed.
On Saturday, June 7, Benito found Coleman sitting at his desk in the executive chamber of Fort Gunnysacks. His usually cheerful countenance wore an anxious look, a look of inner conflict. He glanced up, almost startled, as Benito entered.
"Fred Macondray and his party are outside," said Windham. "They would like to see you."
"What do they wish?" asked Coleman in a harassed tone.
"They're leaving for Benicia today to see the Governor," Benito answered. "Want your final word on mediation matters."
Coleman rose with a brisk movement. He paced the room half a dozen times, his hands behind him, his head slightly bent, before he spoke.
"Bring 'em in. Call Bluxome and as many of the Executive Committee as you can find."
Benito departed. Presently there filed into the room nine gentlemen, headed by Macondray. They belonged neither to the Vigilantes nor to the Law and Order Party. And they were now bent on averting a clash between the two.
"William," Macondray, acting as the spokesman, "what message shall we take the Governor?"
Bluxome, Smiley, Dempster and others of the Executive Committee entered. Coleman explained to them the purpose of Macondray and his friends. "What shall we say to them, boys?" he asked.
"Put it in your own words," Bluxome said. "We'll stand by what you say."
Coleman faced Macondray and his companions. "Tell J. Neely Johnson," he announced, "that if he will consent to withdraw his proclamation we will, on our part, make no further parade of our forces on the street, nor will we resist by force any orders of the court."
Bluxome and his companions nodded. Macondray looked a trifle puzzled. "Suppose he declines to withdraw the proclamation?" he asked, hesitatingly.
"Then," the voice of Coleman rang, "we promise nothing."
* * * * *
On the boat which took them to Benicia, Macondray and his friends met Major-General Sherman of the State Militia. They found him striding up and down the deck, chewing his cigar. Macondray and he compared notes. Sherman had been summoned for an interview with Johnson. The Governor planned a final onslaught of persuasion, hoping General Wool would change his mind; would furnish arms for the militia.
"If he doesn't, it's useless. Men can't fight without guns." Macondray thought he noted an undertone of relief in Sherman's words.
"Do you think he'll give them to you?" Macondray asked in an undertone. Sherman slowly shook his head. He walked away, as though he dreaded further questioning.
* * * * *
At Benicia, Sherman and the Macondray party rode up in the same 'bus to the Solano House. Sherman was admitted at once. The committee was asked to wait. Sherman entered a room blue with tobacco smoke. It contained four men, besides the Governor: Chief Justice David S. Terry, a tall man with a hard face, sat tilted back in a chair, his feet on the Governor's table. He had not taken off his hat. Without moving or apparently looking in that direction, he spat at regular intervals toward the fireplace. Near him sat Edward S. Baker, statesmanlike, impressive, despite his drink-befuddlement; Edward Jones, of Palmer, Cook & Co., smaller, shrewd, keen and avaricious-eyed, was pouring a drink from a decanter; Volney Howard, fat, pompous, aping a blase, decadent manner, stood, as usual, near the mantel.
They all looked up as Sherman entered. Terry favored him with a half-concealed scowl; Howard with an open sneer; Jones with deprecating hostility. Baker smiled. The Governor, who seemed each day to grow more nervous and irritable, held out his hand.
"Well, well, Sherman," he greeted, "glad to see you." Then his brow knit in a kind of puzzled provocation. "What's that Vigilante Committee doing here with you?"
Terry grunted and spat. Sherman looked them over with a repulsion he could not completely conceal. They were men of violent prejudices. It was bad to see the Governor so completely in their grasp.
"They are not Vigilantes, your Excellency," he began with punctilious hauteur.
"The hell they're not!" said Terry.
Sherman ignored him completely. "My meeting with them was purely casual," he resumed. "They are prominent, impartial citizens of San Francisco, seeking to make peace. They have, I understand, seen Coleman; are prepared to offer certain compromises."
"Aha!" cried Howard, "the rabble is caving in. They're ready to quit."
Johnson looked at Sherman as if for confirmation. He shook his head. "Far from it."
"Cannot they state their business in writing?" asked Johnson.
"Send them packing, the damned pork merchants!" Terry said, as if issuing a command.
Again the Governor seemed to hesitate. Again his glance sought Sherman's. "That would be unwise," returned the soldier.
The Governor summoned a clerk. "Ask the committee to put their business in writing!" he ordered. When the man had gone he once more addressed Sherman: "Wool absolutely refuses to provide the militia with arms."
Terry's fist smote the table with a crash. A stream of vituperation issued from his lips. General Wool, the Vigilance Committee and Admiral Farragut were vilified in terms so crude that even the other men surveyed the Chief Justice with distaste.
Sherman turned to the door. "Governor, I've had enough of this," he spoke sharply. "I shall send you my resignation tonight." He went out, leaving Johnson to mutter distressedly. "Never mind," said Terry, "give his job to Volney. He'll drive the damned pork merchants into the sea."
"What about rifles and ammunition?" asked Howard with sudden practicality.
They looked at each other blankly. Then the wily Jones came forward with a shrewd suggestion. "Wool can't refuse you the regular quota of arms for annual replenishment," he said. "Get those by requisition. Ship them down to San Francisco. Reub Maloney is here. He'll carry them down in a sloop."
"But they're only a few hundred guns," said the Governor.
"They'll help," contended Jones. "They'll make a showing."
"Suppose Coleman hears about it; he'll seize them on the bay."
"Then he'll commit an act of 'piracy'," Baker said, explosively.
Terry took his feet from the table, rose. "By God!" he exclaimed, "there's an idea! Piracy! A capital offense!" He crammed his hands into his pockets and strode heavily up and down.
"Coleman's not likely to hear of our sending these arms," said the Governor.
Jones poured another drink and sipped it. "Isn't he, though?" He laughed softly. "You fellows just leave that to me." He caught up his hat and went out.
"A smart little man," remarked Howard Baker, complacently.
TERRY STABS HOPKINS
The peace-makers took an early boat for San Francisco. They were hopelessly alienated from the Law and Order Party. After some deliberation they decided to call a mass meeting in front of the Oriental Hotel. Thus they hoped to make the Vigilante sentiment practically unanimous and request through popular acclaim, a withdrawal of the Governor's proclamation.
Early on June 14, the day appointed, citizens began to gather at Bush and Battery streets; by noon they blocked both thoroughfares and overflowed into Market street. Each window, roof and balcony near by was filled. Women in their summer finery lent gay splashes of color, waved parasols or handkerchiefs excitedly at their acquaintances below.
Inez Windham called to David Broderick, who was passing, "There's room for one more on our balcony. Come up." As he stood behind her in the window, stooping a little, she looked eagerly into his careworn face. "One might think it was a circus." He smiled.
"You remind me of champagne, you San Franciscans. The inherent quality of you is sparkle.... Even if an earthquake came along and swallowed you, I think you'd go down with that same light, laughing nonchalance."
Mrs. Stanley made a moue at him. "You find us—different from your Eastern ladies, Mr. Broderick?" she asked expectantly.
He considered for a moment. "Sometimes I think it is the land more than the women. They come from everywhere—with all their varied prejudices, modes, conventions. But, after a time, they become Californians—like you."
"That's what Benito says," returned his sister. "He's daft about San Francisco. He calls it his Golden City. I think"—she leaned nearer, "but you must not say I told you—I think he has written poetry about it."
"Ah, yes," said Broderick, "he has that strain. And how is Alice?"
"Alice is well," he heard Inez say. Then a great shout from the street silenced their converse. Colonel Bailie Peyton was speaking.
"We are here to consider principles of the first magnitude and which may result in the shedding of innocent blood. One of the objects of this meeting is to prevent so dire a calamity.
"The Vigilance Committee must be sustained or put down. If they are put down it must be at the point of the bayonet. The question is whether we shall appeal to the Governor to put them down in this way, or whether we shall ask him to withdraw his opposition."
He looked up at the balconies across the street.
"The Vigilance Committeemen have the prayers of the churches on their side, and the smiles of the ladies—God bless them."
There were cheers and applause.
Again his voice rose to crescendo:
"Let us show the Governor that if he fights the Committee he will have to walk over more dead bodies than can be disposed of in the cemetery. Let us indorse all the Committeemen have done. Let us be ready to fight for them if necessary."
The crowd broke into wild huzzas. Volney Howard and Richard Ashe, the naval officer, paused on a near-by corner, attracted by the uproar. Howard scowled and muttered something about "damned pork merchants," but he looked uneasy.
* * * * *
The Vigilance Committee, undaunted by Governor Johnson's proclamation or the efforts of the Law and Order element, continued quietly the work of ridding San Francisco of its criminals and undesirables.
On June 10 the National Guard of San Francisco disbanded and Marshal Hampton North resigned. Rumor had it that the Vigilance Committee's work was finished. On July 4 they would disband with a great public demonstration, it was rumored. Coleman did not deny this.
On July 19 came news that rifles and ammunition were being shipped from Benicia; Wool was said at last to have capitulated. But it turned out to be a small annual replenishment order of 130 muskets with a few rounds of powder and ball. Later came the exciting rumors that John Durkee, Charles Rand and a crew of ten men had captured the sloop carrying these arms on the bay; had arrested Reuben Maloney, John Phillips and a man named McNab. The arms were brought to Committee Headquarters in San Francisco. On arrival there, perhaps through oversight, the prisoners were released.
* * * * *
The Vigilance Committee made two serious mistakes. They fell into the Law and Order trap by committing an act of technical piracy. From this Durkee saved them by taking upon himself the legal onus of the seizure. The second error, though a minor one, proved much more serious. They sent Sterling Hopkins, a vainglorious, witless, overzealous wight, to rearrest Maloney. Coleman was not responsible for this; nor were the Vigilantes in a larger sense, for a few hotheads in temporary command issued the order. Hopkins, glorying in the quest, for any errand of authority made him big with pride, set out alone to execute it. He found Maloney in the office of Dr. Richard P. Ashe, United States naval agent. Ashe was companioned by adherents of the Law and Order faction, among them Justice David S. Terry.
Pushing the doorkeeper rudely aside, Hopkins entered the room. "Come with me, Reub Maloney," he commanded, "you're under arrest."
Maloney shrank into a corner. Ashe stepped in the constable's path. "Get out of here!" he thundered. "As a Federal officer I order you to begone!"
"And I, as a judge and a Southern gentleman, will kick you out, suh." Judge Terry moved menacing forward. His eyes flashed. Several others joined him. They took Hopkins by the shoulders and pushed him none too gently out of the room. The door closed. He stood for a moment in the hall, muttering in his outraged dignity. Then he turned and ran toward Fort Vigilance.
"We've scared the dirty peddler," Ashe said, as they watched his flying footsteps from a window.
"He's gone for reinforcements," said another. "Let's get out of here. The Blues' armory is better." There was some argument. Finally, however, armed with pistols, they sought the street, forming a guard around Maloney. But they had not proceeded far down Jackson street when Hopkins came upon them with nine men. Both parties halted, Judge Terry standing in front of the prisoner; Hopkins, who was no coward for all his pompous tactlessness, advanced determinedly. He reached around the Judge and clutched at Maloney's arm. "I arrest you in the name of the Committee."
"To hell with your Committee!" shouted Terry. He struck Hopkins' arm away and poked a derringer in the policeman's face.
Hopkins countered; the pistol went flying. Terry staggered back, while Hopkins made another clutch at his intended prisoner.
Then occurred, with lightning speed, an unexpected thing. Terry, recovering his balance, sprang forward, drew the bowie knife he always carried and plunged it, with a vicious thrust, into Hopkins' neck.
THE COMMITTEE DISBANDS
Alice Windham and her little son, named Robert for his grandfather, were passing Coleman's store, en route to Benito's office; it was a pleasant, quiet afternoon, almost windless. The infant Robert toddled manfully along on his five-year legs, holding tightly to his mother's hand.
Men began to rush by, jostling them in their haste. The child drew closer to his mother. More men passed. Some of them were carrying guns. Coleman, emerging hurriedly, stopped at sight of Mrs. Windham.
"Better go inside," he advised, "there's trouble afoot." He picked up the now frightened child and escorted the mother to his office. "Sit down," he invited. "It's comfortable here ... and safe."
Before she could thank him he was off. At the door Miers Truett hailed him. "Hopkins stabbed," she heard him pant. He had been running. "May die ... Terry did it."
They went off together. Other men stood in the doorway. "By the Eternal!" one was saying. "A Judge of the Supreme Court! What will Coleman do? They can't arrest Terry."
There was a silence. Then the Monumental Fire Engine bell began to toll. "Come on," the second man spoke with a kind of thrill. "That's Coleman's answer."
* * * * *
Terry, Ashe and their companions ran pell mell up Jackson street until they reached the armory of the San Francisco Blues. It was rather an ornate building, guarded by iron doors. These stood open as the fugitives entered, but were immediately closed and guarded by a posse of pursuing Vigilantes, effectually preventing Law and Order reinforcements from the outside.
Meanwhile the wounded Hopkins, screaming that he was murdered, had been carried into the Pennsylvania Engine House close by. Dr. Beverly Cole, the Vigilante surgeon chief, was summoned and pronounced the wound a serious one. Thereupon the bell was tolled.
Half an hour later several thousand men under Marshal Doane marched to the armory. In front of it he drew up his forces and knocked on the inner portal.
"What d'ye want?" came the heavy bass of David Terry, a little less arrogant than usual.
"The committee has ordered the arrest of yourself and your party," answered Doane. "Will you come quietly?"
There was excited murmuring; then Terry's heavy tones once more: "Do you mean that you will attack the person of a Supreme Court Justice?" he asked half incredulous.
"We will arrest all those who commit or attempt murder."
"Very well," said Terry. "I will not subject my friends to violence.... But I warn you that the consequences will be serious."
Doane ignored this, waiting quietly until the door was opened. Then he detailed a guard for the prisoners. At 4 o'clock—an hour after Hopkins had been wounded—Terry, Ashe and half a dozen others were locked in cells at Fort Vigilance. Once more the town was quiet.
"It is all over," Benito told his wife, whom he found in Coleman's office. "We can go home now." Little Robert slept. His mother picked him up gently.
"What will they do with Judge Terry?" she asked in an excited whisper.
"If Hopkins dies they'll hang him sure as shooting," said Benito.
Sterling Hopkins did not die, despite the serious nature of his wound. Had he done so many a different chapter might have been recorded in the history of San Francisco. Hopkins lived to pass into inconsequence. Terry was released to wreak once more his violent hatred on a fellow being, to perish in a third and final outburst of that savagery which marred his whole career.
Captain Ashe and others taken in the Terry raid were soon released upon parole. The Supreme Court Judge remained a prisoner in Fort Vigilance for many weeks.
After days and nights of wrestling with the situation, the Committee judged the prisoner guilty of assault. As the usual punishment within their power to inflict was not applicable in this case, the prisoner was discharged. It was pointedly suggested that the best interests of the State demanded his resignation. To this, however, Terry paid no heed.
Broderick, who had been out of town, campaigning, met Ike Bluxome on Montgomery street.
"I thought you folks were going to disband," he spoke half-banteringly. And Bluxome answered with, his usual gravity. "We thought so, too ... but Terry jumped into the picture. Now he's boasting that the Committee didn't dare to hold him longer." Bluxome smiled faintly. "He was meek enough till Hopkins had recovered ... offered to resign and quit the State forever."
"I believe in Terry," Broderick remarked. "He's quarrelsome, but brave—and honest as a judge. I spent a lot of money in a newspaper fight to help him through this mess."
Bluxome eyed him keenly. "Yes, I know you did. I know you were sincere, too, Broderick. That's why we didn't bother you for bribing the editors. But you will get no thanks from Terry. He's against you on the slavery question. He'd kill you tomorrow if he got a chance. You or any other man that's in his way. Watch out for him."
"Nonsense," said Broderick, and walked away.
* * * * *
On August 18th the Vigilantes paraded for the last time. There were four artillery batteries with an armament of fifteen cannon. Then came the Executive Committee followed by two companies of dragoons, each preceded by a band; the medical staff of fifty members, the Committee of 1851, some half a hundred strong, and four regiments of infantry.
San Francisco was ablaze with decorations, vibrant with enthusiasm. Men, women, children, turned out to do the Vigilantes honor. A float symbolic of Fort Gunnybags was wildly cheered.
Benito Windham, Adrian Stanley and their families stood at the window of an office which had "B. Windham, Attorney and Counselor," inscribed upon its door. Benito had but recently passed his law examination and Alice was accordingly proud.
Broderick, who stood near her with an arm about young Robert, looked out at the pageant.
"They have been my enemies," he said, "but I take off my hat to your Committee. They have done a wondrous work, Benito lad."
Swept clear of its lesser rascals, San Francisco still, ostensibly, was ruled by Freelon, Scannell, Byrne and other officials of the former city government, who had defied the people's invitation to resign. They did little more than mark time, however. Jury-packing was at an end for the Committee had posted publicly the names of men unfit to judge their fellows, and the courts had wisely failed to place them on venires.
"Wait till November," was the watchword. And San Francisco waited. A committee of twenty-one was appointed at a mass meeting shortly before the city election. By this body were selected candidates for all municipal offices. Their ticket was the most diversified, perhaps, that ever was presented to a city's voters, for it included northern and southern men, Republicans, Democrats, Know-Nothings, Jews, Catholics and Protestants. Yet there was an extraordinary basic homogeneity about them. All were honest and respected business men, pledged to serve the city faithfully and selflessly. Former Marshal Doane of Vigilante fame was chosen as chief of police.
* * * * *
Broderick was the Windhams' guest at their new home on Powell street overlooking the bay when Benito's clerk brought them news of the election.
"Every reform candidate wins by a landslide," cried the youth enthusiastically. "I cast my first vote today, Mr. Windham," he said proudly, "and I'm glad to know that the ballot-box had no false bottom." He turned to Broderick. "Your men fared mighty well too, sir, considering—" He paused and reddened, but the politician clapped him, laughing, on the shoulder. "That's right, my boy. Be honest," he declared.
"It means you'll be our Senator next year," the lad said staunchly, holding out his hand. "They're all saying so down town. Allow me to congratulate you, sir."
The keen, half-smiling eyes of Broderick took stock of Herbert Waters. Tall, shy and awkward, with a countenance fresh, unmarked, but eager and alert with clean ideals.
"Thank you, son," he pressed the lad's hand vigorously. "Perhaps ... if I should get to Washington, there'll be a place for you. You'll like it, wouldn't you? To see a little of the world?"
"Would I?" cried the youth, delighted. "Try me." He departed, treading on air. Alice Windham shook a finger at her guest. "Dave, you mustn't trifle with our little protege.... But you did it charmingly. Tell me, will you have to go about now, kissing babies and all that sort of thing?"
"No doubt," he answered gaily. "So I'll practice on your little Bob." He caught the child up in his arms. "Got a kiss for Uncle Dave?" he asked.
Robert's response was instant and vehement. Laughing, Broderick took from an inner pocket a long and slender parcel, which he unwrapped with tantalizing slowness. It revealed at last a gaily painted monkey-on-a-stick which clambered up and down with marvelous agility when Broderick pulled a string.
"This, my little man," he said half soberly, "is how we play the game of politics." He made the jointed figure race from top to bottom while his eyes were rather grim. "Here, you try it, Bobbie," he said. "I've played with it long enough."
Broderick came to them aglow with triumph. He was a big man now, a national figure. Only a short time ago he had been a discredited boss of municipal politics. Now he was going to Washington. He had made William Gwin, the magnificent, do homage. He had all of the federal patronage for California. For years it had gone to Southern men. San Francisco's governmental offices had long been known as "The Virginia Poorhouse." Now its plums would be apportioned to the politicians of the North.